Steve Sarkisian never could have imagined he would be answering questions about his assistant coach’s pet monkey during his first season as the head coach at Texas, but here we are. While the story captured the attention of the sports world and beyond, Sarkisian insists it has not been an issue for the Longhorns.
Sarkisian was asked on Thursday about the reports that a monkey belonging to the girlfriend of special teams coach Jeff Banks bit a trick-or-treater on Halloween. He called the issue a personal matter and said it has not been a distraction for the team.
Texas has lost three straight games to fall to 4-4 on the season. They’ll look to stop the bleeding with a tough road game against Iowa State on Saturday. The last thing Sarkisian’s team needs is a bizarre distraction, but apparently he has not allowed it to become one — or so he says.
And if you haven’t followed the story, you’re missing out. Banks girlfriend, Danielle Thomas, promoted on social media that she would be hosting a haunted house at her home on Halloween Sunday night. She issued an open invitation to her neighbors young and old. After word surfaced that her pet monkey attacked someone, Dani appeared to confirm the story but deny responsibility. She said in a series of deleted tweets that a child entered an area of hers and Jeff’s home without permission. Thomas also said the monkey belonged to her and told people to stop dragging Banks into it.
Animal services is now investigating the incident.
The story took an even wilder turn when we learned that Dani was or is a stripper that goes by the stage name “Pole Assassin.” Further rumors have said Banks, who has three children, left his wife for Thomas. When Thomas performed on stage, she often incorporated a monkey into her act. You can read more of the wild details here.
Even if the story is not a distraction for Texas, there must be plenty of talk about it in Austin this week.
Photo: Sep 4, 2021; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian and players sing The Eyes of Texas along with fans after a victory over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
One of the Texas Longhorns’ leading receivers may be on his way out of the program after a practice altercation with coach Steve Sarkisian.
Multiple reports indicated that wide receiver Joshua Moore was involved in a heated altercation with Sarkisian after Wednesday’s practice. Anwar Richardson of OrangeBloods reported that the altercation was severe enough that Moore’s future with the program has been called into question.
It’s not clear what led to the altercation or what drove it to become as significant as it reportedly turned out to be.
Moore was Texas’ leading receiver in 2020, racking up 472 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He has 22 catches for 233 yards and three touchdowns so far in 2021.
Whatever happened, it’s likely to put more pressure on Sarkisian. The Longhorns are 4-4 after three straight losses, and the first-year coach seems to be feeling the heat a bit.
Photo: Oct 30, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns wide receiver Joshua Moore (6) celebrates a touchdown against Baylor Bears in the first half of an NCAA football game at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports
A truly surreal report this week claimed a child was attacked by a monkey on Halloween at the home of Texas Longhorns special teams coach Jeff Banks, and local authorities are now looking into the incident.
Katie Hall of the Austin American-Statesman confirmed on Tuesday that Austin Animal Services is investigating whether a pet monkey belonging to Banks’ girlfriend, Danielle Thomas, bit a trick-or-treater on Sunday night.
Thomas, who calls herself Dani Banks, promoted on social media that she would be hosting a haunted house at her home on Halloween. She issued an open invitation to her neighbors young and old. After word surfaced that her pet monkey attacked someone, Dani appeared to confirm the story but deny responsibility. She said in a series of deleted tweets that a child entered an area of hers and Jeff’s home without permission. Thomas also said the monkey belonged to her and told people to stop dragging Banks into it.
The story took an even wilder turn when we learned that Dani was or is a stripper that goes by the stage name “Pole Assassin.” Further rumors have said Banks, who has three children, left his wife for Thomas. When Thomas performed on stage, she often incorporated a monkey into her act.
The University Texas has not yet commented on the situation. You can read more about the crazy story here.
The Texas Longhorns lost their third consecutive game on Saturday, a 31-24 defeat at the hands of Baylor. It means the Longhorns are now an underwhelming 4-4 under first-year coach Steve Sarkisian after starting 4-1 and taking a big lead against Oklahoma.
That will be a huge frustration to Sarkisian, who indicated as much after Saturday’s game. However, the remark he made about getting over the hump doesn’t exactly sound hugely confident.
The problem for Sarkisian is that Texas fans aren’t really looking forward to what may or may not happen in the weeks to come. They were hopeful of a dangerous team this season. Maybe the 4-1 start was a bit of a mirage, but 4-4 is not a great look for Sarkisian, even in year one.
Sarkisian is going to need some wins in recruiting, though he may be positioning himself for a surprising one. Regardless, Texas fans probably aren’t going to have an endless well of patience as he heads into year two.
Texas had some high-profile recruits in attendance for their game on Saturday against Oklahoma State. The plan did not work out too well.
Arch Manning was among the recruits taking in the Longhorns’ game in Austin. Jalen Hale, a fellow 5-star recruit, shared a photo on Twitter of the two of them.
Arch is the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the 2023 recruiting class. Not only is he a top recruit, but he also brings tons of attention thanks to his lineage. His grandfather is Archie Manning, and his uncles are Peyton and Eli, who both won two Super Bowls. Arch’s father Cooper also played wide receiver at Ole Miss before suffering a serious injury.
Arch has two more visits planned this fall. Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Ole Miss and Clemson appear to be his top five schools in consideration currently. He previously offered a nice compliment for Texas.
The 2021 edition of the Red River Shootout was one to remember on Saturday.
Texas jumped out to an early lead on Oklahoma, going up 14-0 before you knew it. The Longhorns led 28-7 in the first quarter and 38-20 at halftime. Oklahoma even benched quarterback Spencer Rattler in the first half.
But the story didn’t end there.
The Sooners started coming back in the second half and took a 48-41 lead late. Texas scored with just over a minute left to tie the game. At that point, the game going to overtime seemed likely. But Oklahoma said not so fast.
They tried to move the ball with just over a minute left and were successful getting it into Texas territory. Then with 10 seconds left in the game, Kennedy Brooks took a direct snap, faked to the right, then ran left for a 33-yard touchdown to win the game.
What a game and what a comeback!
The game was a thriller … unless you are a Texas fan, in which case, sorry.
Brooks finished with 25 carries for 217 yards and two touchdowns, including the winner.
Oct 10, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; Fans walk outside Cotton Bowl Stadium before the Red River Showdown college football game between the Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Texas Longhorns (UT) at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Terry-USA TODAY NETWORK
Saturday’s Red River Shootout featured a surprise guest on the field: a wild fox.
The fox appeared during the first quarter of Saturday’s Oklahoma-Texas game at the Cotton Bowl. It was spotted running down the sideline away from the action on the other end of the field.
Where did the fox come from? How did it get into the Cotton Bowl? Your guess is as good as ours. It was enough to prompt a lot of jokes about the fox outgaining the Sooners in yardage, as Oklahoma was trailing 14-0 at the time.
Sadly, the fox apparently moved too fast for ABC’s cameras to capture it in action. That also deprived us of a great animal-on-field commentary moment to rival this one.
Arch Manning is in the middle of exploring various universities this fall, and he has offered a compliment to one of them.
Manning is checking out five schools during the fall: Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Ole Miss and Clemson. He went to Georgia and complimented them. Then he witnessed Bama take it to Ole Miss last weekend. His next visit will be to Texas against Oklahoma State at Oct. 16.
Ahead of the visit, Manning told Orange Bloods that Austin, where the school is located, has a “home feel” to him.
Arch offered a similar compliment to Georgia.
It’s no surprise that Manning would be complimentary to the schools. These appear to be finalists to secure a commitment from him, so he obviously finds them all to be appealing in one way or another.
Arch is the grandson of former Saints quarterback Archie Manning and the nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning. He is the top quarterback in the 2023 recruiting class. He is a legacy at Ole Miss, where his father cooper, grandfather Archie and uncle Eli went. Uncle Peyton went to Tennessee, but the Vols do not appear to be in consideration.
The Texas Longhorns appear to have made their decision as to who the starting quarterback will be, at least for the season opener.
As first reported by Chip Brown of Horns247, redshirt freshman Hudson Card will get the nod for the Longhorns against Louisiana on Sept. 4. Card beat out redshirt junior Casey Thompson for the job.
Coach Steve Sarkisian informed the quarterbacks of the decision after Friday’s walkthrough, adding that both quarterbacks were going to play in the opener.
Thompson started camp getting most of the first team reps, but struggled with turnovers. That opened the door for Card, who impressed enough to win the job. Card was regarded as a four-star recruit coming out of high school and one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in his class. The Longhorns are clearly putting a lot of faith in him by granting him the job at this stage of his career.
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Nick Saban supposedly entertained the idea of leaving Alabama to coach at Texas years ago, but he ultimately turned down a massive offer from the Longhorns. We may now have a better understanding of why.
SEC Network host Paul Finebaum said during an appearance on the “Saturday Down South” podcast this week that there was one primary reason Saban turned down the Texas job in 2013. According to Finebaum, Saban felt there would be too many voices telling him what to do in Austin.
“The bottom line is they did want Saban and Saban was offered the job, and he considered it,” Finebaum said. “He said to me and to anybody who would confront him with this, that the reason he didn’t go to Texas — he said this privately, he didn’t say this publicly — was he did not want to have to answer to 10 or 15 different boosters who all felt like they owned the franchise. It was a little of a Jerry Jones complex or a T. Boone Pickens complex in college football in the past.”
Finebaum noted that the issue has always “haunted Texas.” He said it was also a problem at Alabama before Saban arrived in 2007, but Saban came in and made it clear that “I run this place.” He probably could have done the same at Texas, but he chose not to.
For what it’s worth, a story we heard a couple years back made it sound like Mack Brown was responsible for Saban not going to Texas. We may never know the real reason.